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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » Your Guide to Everything Stretch Marks!

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Author Topic: Your Guide to Everything Stretch Marks!
dailicious
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Every month or so we seem to get a new topic asking about stretch marks! And really, the answer to people's problems never changes, so I figured, why not give everyone a one-shop-stop to all their stretch mark needs?

What are Stretch Marks?
Stretch Marks, also known in the dermatological world as striae, are, simply put, lines that appear on your body - usually purple or red in color when they first appear, and which gradually turn to a more silvery-white color over time.

They occur in the dermis, which is the middle layer of our skin - it's the elastic part of our skin that allows it to retain its shape even though we move and stretch and grow.

Why do stretch marks occur?
Stretch marks occur when the dermis, that stretcy layer of skin, is stretched rapidly or overstretched, and the resulting effect is these scar lines.

Stretch marks can be caused from a number of things, including the following:
Pregnancy
Weight gain (often related to natural weight gain during puberty, as a person's body is maturing)
Growth/height change
Muscle gain

Are stretch marks bad for me or my skin?
Not in the slightest! Stretch marks do not negatively affect the way your body and skin work or heal

I have stretch marks on my stomach/breasts/thighs/back/legs/etc. is that normal?
Yep! Pretty much anywhere you can grow, you can get stretch marks. Different people have stretch marks in different areas, based on where their bodies experienced change to cause them - for example, a person who went through a quick growth spurt when they were younger could possibly have stretch marks on their legs; a woman who experienced breast growth during puberty or pregnancy could have stretch marks on their breasts; a person who is doing a lot of weight training could experience stretch marks in the areas where their bodies are building muscle.

Who has stretch marks?
Everybody! Well, close enough to everybody can have stretch marks: tall people, short people, lean people, curvy people, muscular people, younger people, older people, everybody!

Will my stretch marks ever go away?
Well, not really. Like most scarring, stretch marks are permanent marks on the skin. However, like a lot of scarring, many people notice that stretch marks can fade over time, as long as you keep your skin and body healthy.

What can I do about my stretch marks?
The easiest, most cost effective thing to do? Learn to love them, or at least not pay them any mind.

There really is no "cure" or "remedy" for stretch marks, and there's really no reaosn there needs to be!

There are a few easy, healthy things you can do to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, or help prevent them in the future (note that not all of these are guranteed to work for everybody), these include the following:

1. Keep your skin nourished and healthy!
Healthy skin can heal more quickly and is less likely to experience damage - to keep your skin healthy, it is important to keep your body healthy, as well. So drink plenty of water, and get your proper nutrients. Also, keeping your skin moisturized is a great way to keep it happy.

Some people recomend cocoa butter, some vitamin E or aloe, others just like a good lotion.

2. Use sunscreen, seriously!
UV rays are incredibly harmful to your skin, and exposure to the sun can damager your skin severely, as you all may well know.

Tanning or suburns can often make skin troubles much worse, and tanning, especially, can make natural pigment alterations on your skin (such as stretch marks and other scarring) all the more visable.

But what about those creams they advertise on TV, or what about surgery?
Honestly? Most of the creams they sell, avertised to help reduce stretch marks, work just the same as any good lotion might. One of the main differences between a regular moisturizing lotion and the creams they advertise is that the creams may contain collagen or elastin, to try and mimic or replace the natural pcollage and elastin protiens already in our skin (those two are some of the things in our skin responsible for its elasticity).

And surgery? We're talking a LOT of money for a potentially painful treatment which could cause a lot more harm than good! Plastic surgeons and dermatologists are advertising everything from laser treatments to chemcial peels to "get rid of stretch marks" - but those procedures can leave your body worse for the wear if you don't react well or follow exact aftercare procedures, and is it really worth all that money (and it's a LOT, remember - insurance doesn't cover for unnecssary, cosmetic procedures) and stress and potential damage just for a few natural, unharmful lines?

I think that just about covers it! If you think I'm forgetting anything, let me know! [Smile]

[ 05-17-2007, 05:56 PM: Message edited by: dailicious ]

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Jean
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Leabug
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Awesome, Jean! Thanks for writing this up! [Big Grin]

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Lea

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beatlegirl
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[Big Grin] Yes, I feel *much* better because of the way that I look at stretch marks differently now.

I hope everyone else gets to understand why the scars are there, so they can find them normal!

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^_^

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FuNnY
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I have had stretch marks for a while and i always wondered why...i didnt realise you could get them from muscle growth, thanks for filling me in [Smile]

i find the best way to deal with stretch makrs and assisnt in them fading is just using cocoa butter cream...from the body shop or even cheap stuff from the super market...and the best part about it is u smell like chocolate haha [Smile]

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Tyciol
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This is good but... is it true? To say that scars like stretch marks "do not negatively affect the way your body and skin work or heal"?

It just seems wrong. I mean, in theory, if you got an excessive amount of scarring, your skin would be compromised. If your skin was nothing BUT stretchmarks, wouldn't that interfere with it's elasticity, ability to adapt, and ability to heal?

It's more accurate to say 'its very minor in usual amounts'. Scars are injuries after all and we're not born with them.

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-Lauren-
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Stretch marks are a naturally occurring phenomena nearly everyone gets. They form when the middle layer of skin is stretched beyond its normal capacity, most often in places where fast growth occurs, such as the breasts, hips, thighs, and pregnant tummies. The scarring is a result of interference with the production of collagen; decreased levels of collagen also lead to wrinkles, for example.

Stretch marks have no effect on the way skin moves or heals. All available medical treatments work to reduce the appearance rather than remove the scars and repair the skin; the fact no medical treatment is available shows it's purely a cosmetic issue.

I'd love to review your sources, though, that say stretch marks interfere with normal function. [Smile]

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LollySocks
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Could exercising help a teen's skin in the breast and hip/butt/thigh area "tighten up" and help reduce, if not erase the appearance of stretch marks? It's just really difficult when I can't wear normal bathing suits because I don't want people to see them, you know?

Please help! [Big Grin]

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Leabug
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Nope- exercise does not effect the skin, just the muscles underneath. The tips on skin care above are the only things you can really do!

(And actually, some people find that working out and gaining muscle actually causes MORE stretch marks in the areas that are being built up!)

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Lea

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soccerjen2927
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Thanks-this post really helped me a lot!

(And I have personally gained stretch marks from playing high school soccer)

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morbidmacabre
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While pregnant, can the consistent use of a good lotion prevent severely visible stretch marks?
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dailicious
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Many women find that by keeping the skin well moisturized during pregnancy, they can help prevent some worse stretch marks as the skin over the stomach stretches. So yes, it definitely can help. It won't work for everyone, but well moisturized skin certainly wouldn't make things worse, even if it didn't work in preventing them. [Smile]

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Jean
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fleurdelys
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I've had these marks on my breasts since puberty, and I never was really sure what they were. . . I mean I suspected they very well might be stretch marks, but to me stretch marks was something that only pregnant woman could have. Thanks for clarifying that it's normal for me to have these!
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astrocyte
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I have stretchmarks on my hips & thighs. I have never been really bothered about them, I think because the ponly time I expose these places in public is when I'm swimming, and then I take off my glasses, so I can't see them!

But I saw some programme that dealt with them awesomely I thought:
"They're just STRIPES! Imagine if zebras wanted to cover up cos they're stripy!"

So I'm going to try to extend this philosophy to all my pimples and scars. From now on they are decorative/camouflaging spots. [Smile]

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Star07
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I got them really bad on my thighs when i hit puberty because i grew 6 inches/gained 25 pounds in less than a year....
i still feel really uncomfortable about them but i realize now that so many people have them that i dont mind if people see.

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Independence_Day
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quote:
Originally posted by footy_chick:
I have had stretch marks for a while and i always wondered why...i didnt realise you could get them from muscle growth, thanks for filling me in [Smile]

Ya, I didn't know either. Thanks.

quote:
Originally posted by rosegeranium:
But I saw some programme that dealt with them awesomely I thought:
"They're just STRIPES! Imagine if zebras wanted to cover up cos they're stripy!"

So I'm going to try to extend this philosophy to all my pimples and scars. From now on they are decorative/camouflaging spots. [Smile]

I love that!

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I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as h*** don’t deserve me at my best. --Marilyn Monroe

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XSugarXhookerX
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I have a question. I have alot of strecth marks and you said that there is no way to get rid of them.

are you sure?

because I really don't like them and would like to get rid off them.


Would losing wieght help??

cuz Thats what I have heard

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lindyswinggirl
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Hey,

If it helps anyone out, my ex boyfriend actually thought stretch marks were pretty sexy cause he felt they were more realistic!!

:-)

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Sugars
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My boyfriend loves my stretch marks. He thinks they look nifty. When we cuddle, he likes to trace little patterns with them. So stretch marks have not hindered out relationship at all, and have perhaps enhanced it.
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dinosaurexx
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ive always been realy embarassed of mine [Frown]

ive had them on my legs and my hips since i was 13 and have always hated them.

but thanks i didnt know it was natural to have them.
i always just thought i was a freak [Razz]

now i feel much better [Smile]

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whafu
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It's nice to know something about something that i didn't even know! thanks for the information.
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foreversmiling
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Thanks for the info! When I went through puberty I began getting stretch marks on my stomache and started to gain wait [Mad]

But can Vitamin E help heal them?

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-Jill
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As stated in the first post, nothing really heals stretch marks. They can fade over time and keeping your skin healthy and moisturized can make them less visible, but our stretch marks are part of us just like scars and freckles.
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eternal-moonlight
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In the uk, there's a lotion on sale called bio-oil...i've used it and it does appear to reduce really obvious stretch marks as well as scars...
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Silverwing
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I've always heard cocoa butter really helped with stretch marks but I have never tried it. I probably will. I have a whole bunch on my bum cheeks and it's honestly like covered with them. I have some on my knees too but those aren't really visible. I don't mind them personally but I'm scared that I'll never find a future partner who doesn't mind them. =(
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Heather
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I honestly think that's a bit of a silly concern so far as the reality of people go.

People have stretch marks, especially women (I like to think of my own marks and those of partners as ways I can see how people grew: it's seriously kind of cool we can have that kind of evidence of growth and life on our bodies). Good luck to anyone who wants to find a partner who does NOT have some of them somewhere or who never will, honestly, or any of the other things that are normal in our bodies as we grow: scars, wrinkles, grey hairs, varicose veins, strange hairs in funky places, the works. This is simply the stuff of being human.

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TheBexExpress
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I only just realized I had stretchmarks, all the way around both thighs. They're so light, I never saw them before. A side-effect of my mid-teen thighsplosion!

To be honest my first reaction was "hey, cool!". Doesn't really bother me [Razz]

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beauty+FULL
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I'm currently using Avon Solution Stretch Marks Away.Its a stretch mark smoother.It makes stretch marks appear less visible and appear to smoothen them up [Razz]

I tried using moisturising body lotion prior to using Avon stretch mark smoother,but no moisturising lotion seesm to help improve my condition.

I have stretch mark at the sides of my waist and thighs,resulting from my extreme weight loss and extreme dieting [Frown]

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violet21
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I tried Mederma AND Bio-oil but I didn't see any results [Frown]

Does anybody know a cream that actually works? (I'm white, by the way, if that makes any difference.)

They don't bother me too much, but I just want my old skin back, you know? It would be nice to repair it as much as possible.

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Loving With Lust
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Great post!

Cheers! [Smile]
-Loving With Lust

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Δεν γίνεται ζωή χωρίς άνδρες. ~Χάρις Αλεξίου

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ILoveYouBaby19
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i have come to just kind of ignore them sometimes when im bored and just sitting at home when everything is calm ill try and see if the "scars" will make anything ive found the word "if" on my right breast so far and think that this is pretty cool. lol i use to hate them thought they were ugly but after 8-9 years of having them i finally gave up on my one-sided hate and just learned to ignore them then kinda even like them!

just think of it like those finding games you played when you were little "see how many things you can find in YOUR stretch marks"

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I believe in the compelling power of love. I do not understand it. I believe it to be the most fragrant blossom of all this thorny existence. Theodore Dreiser

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Tullia95
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My boyfriend has really dark (we're white), pretty much purple stretch marks on his thighs. He says he grew really fast and that's how he got them. I don't mind them, I actually kind of like them, but he's very self conscious and has asked before if there's a way to get rid of them. Any suggestions?

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crathes
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Thanks for the interesting/helpful post. it does have something to do with elastic fibres stretching and breaking in the dermis. I'm no dermatologist, lol but I don't see how it would really impair the functions of your skin. I think it's more cosmetic than anything but certainly could be wrong!

I like how you talked about how common and normal they are. I find it mildly annoying how so often it's associated only with pregnancy. My ex-boyfriend had some and so does my current boyfriend!

I have them too, and I don't like them. [Frown] But maybe I need a different perspective. I think I dislike them because I am overweight.

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huddlearomatic
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Thank you very much for sharing this [Smile]
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crazyhorseperson
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I love my stretch marks. I have some on my thighs; they're almost-straight parallel stripes, silvery white, and I got them from the mass of fat which I temporarily had when going through puberty (for some reason, it shifted away from there, possibly from extensive horse-riding - my thighs are the same size, but now it's alllll muscle!). I also have ones on my breasts, the same shade, but moving away from the center of the breast toward the surrounding areas. They're from when I went on the pill and my breasts grew rapidly.

I also really love all the scars I have on my body (mostly from surgeries), because they show I was strong through broken bones, brave enough to have a mole removed, and watchful enough to have another one removed (the first one was precancerous, the second was suspicious but on examination following removal turned out to be normal). ^-^

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ralphie41
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I have stretch marks on my hips/bum/thighs, and i remember being so worried about them when I first started doing stuff with my boyfriend - I thought only old women had them, basically.
It never occurred to me that he would have them aswell...! And looking back there is no reason why not! Everyone's body changes during puberty, whatever body type you have...
I now actually quite like them - they're my 'tiger stripes' [Smile]

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"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live"

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